Work harder to stop online child abuse, MEPs tell EU states

And stop passing the buck to ISPs, you slackers

EU countries are doing too little to combat online child sex abuse, said MEPs on Wednesday.

The European Parliament called on national authorities to fully implement the 2011 directive on combating child abuse images and exploitation, adding that more than half of EU member states have so far failed to do so.

The Parliament wants more resources for Europol and other law enforcement agencies, as well as “new high-tech capabilities” to tackle child abuse imagery on the dark web.

British Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope said: “We need to ensure that we take every action possible to remove abusive images and prosecute those who create or download them. However, the resources are not there, with Europol telling us that thousands of images are not being fully investigated because of a lack of resources.”

Internet service providers were also singled out: “Any illicit content must be promptly removed and reported to law enforcement authorities,” said a Parliament statement.

Yet German MEP Birgit Sippel pointed out that this doesn’t mean national law enforcement is off the hook.

“Each country must take full responsibility for tackling crimes against children on the internet, they must not outsource it. Public authorities cannot 'wash their hands' and pass the buck to internet service providers to enforce public laws. Internet service providers should co-operate whenever they are asked to do so by a judicial authority, but they must not set up private systems to investigate citizens' web activities and decide what to block and when.”

So much for reasoned arguments. Slovenian MEP Tanja Fajon turned the hyperbole to the max, saying children are “permanently in danger due to new technologies and the internet”. ®

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